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FogCon Update!

book - pile
As expected, FogCon has been great so far. Interesting panels, some fun activities, chatting with people both known and new to me. A couple of fun "oh, you're KJ/owlmoose!" moments. I haven't really been taking close notes -- although, as always, I've been adding to the to-read list, even though I barely made a dent in my to-read list from the last FogCon -- but some thoughts and impressions...

Friday

1. As mentioned in my last post, I started with a panel on genre fragmentation, and whether that's a good or bad thing for writers, readers, and publishing; in general, I got the sense that most people thought it was mostly neutral, with potential good effects (making it easier for readers to find exactly what they want) as well as bad (what do you do with books that aren't easily pigeonholed, are authors pressured to write what's "hot" rather than to follow their muse). I had lots of librarian-y thoughts about classification and reader's advisory and Ranjanathan's Laws ("every book its reader, every reader their book"), but nothing coherent enough to turn into a comment. Maybe later.

After that, I wandered up to the Con suite for the social media meetup, where I connected with [personal profile] wordweaverlynn and met other folks for the first time. It was a great, free-wheeling conversation with lots of talk around fandom and fic and, interestingly, Dragon Age -- even though this con is focused on literature as opposed to other kinds of media, that game got a broad enough audience that I've encountered several other fans of the series. Over the course of the discussion, I was convinced to change my plans for the evening, so rather than attending ConTenTion (arguing with other fans for fun and profit), I ended up going to...

2. The Vid Show. I don't know that FogCon had a vid show last year; if there was, I missed it. It was a good set, with a fairly broad cross-selection of fandoms and themes, a few that I'd seen before and others that were new to me. I can't find the playlist, but if it ever goes up, I'll try to link my favorites.

3. Last on my schedule for the day was Unwoman, a solo steampunk cellist, who was fantastic. I enjoyed her set thoroughly and picked up two of her albums. I posted a video of her cover of "Billie Jean" over on Tumblr.

Saturday

Today has been mostly a day for panels, plus the Guest of Honor event with Nalo Hopkinson. The highlights:

1. Rereading: I am a live-long and unrepentant rereader, so this panel was a slam dunk for me. It ended up being a fairly broad discussion on what we read and why, reading moods, how books change us and how our approach to books changes over time, world-building, and spoilers. This is also where I met up with [tumblr.com profile] kentsarrow, who I convinced at the last minute to come buy a day pass. Yay!

2. A panel on what makes for a good alien, which focused on how to write a convincing alien culture and mind set. Some good things about language and communication. I actually kept thinking about the Qunari, who, while not precisely aliens, are different enough from most Western cultures that I could see some of the same challenges in trying to write about them.

3. Lunch! Kentsarrow and I went with two other women who we had met during panels; it turned out we were all gamers and all involved in online fandom, so that's mostly what we ended up talking about. Good food, good company.

4. Nalo Hopkinson's Guest of Honor presentation, which was actually just an opportunity to gather in one of the ballrooms and play children's games. Brown Girl in the Ring, Duck Duck Goose, Mother May I, jumping double-dutch, rhythm and running and rock-passing games, songs and rhymes, North American and Caribbean versions of them all; as we played, we were invited to think about how these games are a way for children to pass bits of culture on to each other. Plus, it was just fun.

5. Two more panels: one on the Occupy movement and how it might impact SF/F, SF/F that reflects or inspires social change (it didn't resolve much, and got contentious in a couple of places, but I thought the moderator did a good job of keeping the audience focused) and then one on ESP in science fiction and why we don't see as much of it as we used to. That discussion got even more contentious than the Occupy one, with debate about whether the premise of the panel was even true, and how we define ESP, and science fiction, and whether scifi ought to always be grounded in what might be possible based on science as we currently understand it.

6. Dinner I had on my own, and then I went to one last panel, about how tabletop and live-action roleplaying can influence writers. Although writing stories based on video games in the RPG genre isn't quite the same thing, I still found some interesting parallels in terms of working with characters, existing worlds, and game mechanics.

Followed by some hanging out and chatting; I thought about karaoke, or the filk room, but both of those are activities better done with people one knows, especially the former, so instead I headed back to my hotel room to decide whether I was done for the night, and it turns out I am. Plus, there's yet another interesting-sounding 9am panel, so I figured it made sense to wind down. One more day.

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